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Northern Rhône Syrah for All! Drink Reynaud's Crozes-Hermitage

Co-ops are great: they give an outlet to grape growers who are too small to produce their own wines. In this model, a group of like-minded small growers band together to create a co-op, where they pool their resources – contributing their fruit, sharing the work and costs of winemaking and marketing, and each taking a share of the profits. A socialist would certainly approve, but so would anyone who loves wine and fears the takeover of vineyards by big agri-business.

And yet, we think that one of the wine world’s best trends in the last 20 years or so is the partial undoing of local co-operatives. It's nothing political! We just really love wine. OK, that might sound a little confusing, but we have a bottle that will explain it all: David Reynaud’s Crozes-Hermitages “Beaumont”.

Let’s start by just tasting the wine. It’s got a brilliant, shiny, purplish hue. A blast of blackberries, violets and bacon wafts from the glass. Sip, and it is juicy and fruity, almost lush, you think, until a gust of freshness brings focus, energy, even vivacity. The flavor lingers beautifully, but there is no holding back: this is a wine you want to keep drinking.

So what does it have to do with co-ops? Well, David Reynaud, like most of his neighbors, used to sell his grapes to the local co-op. But thanks to rising prices, Reynaud calculated back in 2003 that he could strike out on his own. Bottling wines under his own name prompted him to grow better grapes. He switched to organics and biodynamics. And he was free to make the wine the way he wanted: quite traditionally (all concrete vats and never any wood) and bottling with hardly any sulphur — something a co-op would never do.

So yes, co-ops can make decent wine, for sure, and serve a very useful purpose. But it is only by withdrawing that Reynaud was able to bring the life, vigor and energy that makes today’s Crozes-Hermitages so great. Fortunately, he has also managed to make sure it remains very economical.

BUY HERE: David Reynaud, Crozes-Hermitages “Beaumont”, 2019


Want to know more?

Read our guide to the Hermitage region.